PS3 Reviews: Beyond Good & Evil HD Review

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Beyond Good & Evil HD Review

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Graphics:

 

8.3

Gameplay:

 

8.8

Sound:

 

8.6

Control:

 

8.2

Replay Value:

 

8.5

Overall Rating:       8.5

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Publisher:

Ubisoft

Developer:

Ubisoft

Number Of Players:

1

Genre:

Action/Adventure

Before I begin, I have to say something concerning the style of gameplay in Beyond Good & Evil: you really don’t see this anymore. I mean, there’s such a diverse combination of various gameplay elements; these days, while many genres do adopt traits of other categories of interactive entertainment, we see so few titles that implement so many distinct mechanics. BG&E features exploration, storytelling, stealth, action combat, puzzle-solving, and several smaller gameplay components that continually spice up the experience. It still doesn’t gel perfectly and it does feel a touch outdated but it’s tough to argue against a surprisingly unique classic.

Thankfully, I own a PS2 copy of the game, so I was able to check out the significant visual upgrades thanks to this high-definition overhaul. Obviously, everything is sharper, clearer, and prettier overall. Furthermore, the colorful, inspired backgrounds and environments really benefit from the keener graphics; everything from the creative characters to the well designed landscapes receives a huge boost in terms of appeal. As the detail isn’t exactly stellar due to the antiquated appearance, the HD isn’t a panacea for all that originally ailed BG&E, but the excellent and even singular style maintains its charm. If you liked it before, you’ll probably love it now.

Not much has changed concerning the sound – at least, I couldn’t detect any significant differences – but the solid voice acting and decent soundtrack makes this an adventure worth having. I was never the biggest fan of the special effects, as they always seemed too muted and downplayed, but that can’t be helped. For the most part, the game remains entirely intact with the exception of that aforementioned facelift. The voices really help to cement the experience as an exotic and entertaining one; there are many different accents and speech patterns, and the main characters – especially Jade and Pey’j – are big highlights.

As I stated above, Beyond Good & Evil is a definite hodgepodge of gameplay mechanics and the naysayers will claim that such variety is the biggest drawback. After all, there’s a common rule- when an entertainment product – and this even pertains to artistic impressions, to some extent – tries to do too much, it never excels in anything. In other words, it does a lot of things well but nothing wonderfully. I suppose such criticism can be applied to this game, as there are minor issues with just about every gameplay element, but each still remains quite functional. The optimistic critic will say that nothing stands out as a glaring flaw.

With such a production, we’re most interested in answering one key question: “Regardless of the fresh graphics, how well does the game stand up over time?” I’ve played quite a few high-definition overhauls this generation and thankfully, BG&E stands up quite well, despite the old camera and general movement issues. It drove me a little nuts that I had to select “Reverse” for all camera options; I just wanted to invert the y-axis (as I always do) and not the x-axis but in the good ol’ days, when you invert one, the other has to be inverted, too. The camera also sits too close to Jade and that’s a problem that certainly hasn’t changed.

Overall control isn’t as tight as it should be, either, and I distinctly recall this shortcoming when playing the PS2 version. All this being said, the slick new HD sheen really brings out the game’s best points; I was frequently reminded of what made the original production so much fun. It starts with a bang and within the first hour, you’re exploring, solving, fighting, collecting, and working in tandem with a partner. The places you explore will range from dank caves and tunnels to lush, natural environments. We explore in a hovercraft, we attack with a sturdy stick (sorta reminds me of Donatello), and we upgrade our equipment Zelda-style.

It’s the epitome of “action/adventure.” It really is. It has a lighthearted, amusing plot with a few dramatic situations, and the atmosphere and ambiance is second-to-none. Sometimes it feels a little disjointed and the stealth aspects in particular feel somewhat unpolished, but the overarching theme is always alluring. One always wants to conquer the next section, to face the next boss, to solve the newest puzzle, to get that next pearl. And one feature is a completionist’s dream; as Jade is technically a reporter, she is tasked with taking pictures of the diverse life forms that roam the world. It can be difficult to capture certain creatures, but the payoff is big.

Beyond Good & Evil HD is quite simply a high-definition version of an established classic. This version enhances the good and diminishes the bad; although we should probably admit that time itself works to exaggerate the low points. Industry advancements have allowed for smoother, more accessible mechanics, and more fulfilling special effects. But great games keep the fun factor at their core; they’re always entertaining almost regardless of the passage of time. Action has gotten better. Graphics have gotten better. Even so, this extraordinary combination of gameplay elements and an exceptional aura remains captivating.

The Good: High-definition overhaul highlights the positives. Solid, diverse voice acting. A quintessential action/adventure experience. Singular attitude and style. Addictive gameplay. Good longevity.

The Bad: Camera can be an issue. Mechanics still suffer in some respects. The HD gloss can’t save all visual drawbacks.

The Ugly: “Right has to be left if I want down to be up…? Damnit.”

7/1/2011 Ben Dutka

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Comments (27 posts)

Temjin001
Friday, July 01, 2011 @ 11:42:09 PM
Reply

The game has a lot of charm. It's well worth the asking price.

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556pineapple
Friday, July 01, 2011 @ 11:46:32 PM
Reply

I never even heard of this game until about a year or two ago (never had a PS2) and I admit it intrigued me from the sounds of it. I downloaded the demo the other day and I really had a lot of fun with it. I'll definitely have to add this to my collection someday.

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Temjin001
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 1:21:04 AM

It was on Xbox also. Probably even on PC and Gamecube as well. Jeesh man, where were u?

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Beamboom
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 4:43:10 AM

I can confirm it was on the PC too, that's where I played it.

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556pineapple
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 5:33:30 PM

My parents never believed in buying video games for me and I was too young to have a job and make money at the time. By the time I could afford to buy a PS2, the PS3 was about a year away so I decided to wait. But that's part of the fun of the 60GB, I can catch all these old great games for cheap now, even if they're not being remastered.

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LimitedVertigo
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 12:06:37 AM
Reply

I've compared this game to a Family Diner. Lots of variety and you'll leave full but nothing too spectacular. I've never understood why people held this game so high. I enjoyed it but forgot about it soon after my initial playthrough.


Having said that I'm going to buy the PSN version since I'd like to see what they would do with a sequel.

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Temjin001
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 1:18:53 AM

"I've never understood why people held this game so high"

Cameras in games were the craze back then =p
That, and the protagonist was a female without huge boobs. That was the craze back then too.

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Lawless SXE
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 1:32:24 AM

"That, and the protagonist was a female without huge boobs. That was the craze back then too."

When has that ever not been the craze? I mean... the majority of core gamers are men, right?

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Qubex
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 2:17:24 AM

Temjin001 - me too, I only played the demo but found it a little difficult to understand what was going on and how to get past the first section. I guess if I played the full game I would probably find it different I think...

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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Fane1024
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 6:51:08 AM

The demo is not a good sample of the game. It doesn't blossom until you actually run the Black Isle mission hinted at in the demo.

I think the reason it got such good reviews is that it has the same sort of charm as Ico and SOTC. It also (outside of combat, which is button-mashy) feels a lot like a JRPG.

It's a shame they didn't fix the camera inversion problem. Like Ben, I invert only vertical and BG&E was tough for me to play on PS2; I had to avoid playing anything else at the same time, so I could acclimate to the controls. Even then, I would often spin the camera like 300 degrees because my instinct was to push in the opposite direction.

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Temjin001
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 9:13:04 AM

True that, lawless.
Yeah there's not many of them. It was never the craze.
Jade just seemed to have popped in just before Alex Vance's time. Half Life 2 was my craze back then =)

That ugly Mirrors Edge girl marked the end of small boobs for every game =p

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 10:07:37 AM

If the demo doesn't even let you play a little of the first mission (Black Isle), then it's a terrible indication of the overall game.

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BikerSaint
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 1:01:48 AM
Reply

Glad to see BG&E got high marks!

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Lawless SXE
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 1:30:43 AM
Reply

Great to hear, but I really wish that Ubisoft had released this on disc. Ah well... Can't be helped. I just want to hear that the company will pull a sequel to BG&E out in the gap year between AC:R and ACIII (wishful thinking?),

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___________
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 3:40:19 AM
Reply

what is it these days with platformers and wonky cameras?
that drove me INSANE with infamous 2!
i mean its a freaking platformer, so it might be important if i can see where the freaking hell im jumping!
makes no sense, i mean the one genre where camera control is so important is the one genre where it keeps getting screwed up.

looking forward to getting this, looks really good allong with outland.
both are far too expensive though ill wait for a sale.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 10:08:14 AM

"These days?"

BG&E came out in 2003.

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___________
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 10:20:48 AM

yes, but with the graphical makeover you would think they would of fixed it.
especially in platformers........ its kinda important to be able to see where your going!
main thing that drove me insane with infamous 2, every time you used your static thrusters the camera swung up so i was constantly having to adjust it so i could see where i was going to land.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 10:22:34 AM

You can't fix a gameplay mechanic unless you actually dive into the nuts and bolts of the game's architecture.

This is purely a visual overhaul; it's not technically a "remake."

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mastiffchild
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 7:19:52 PM

Camera issues are pretty maajor things in even modern games that get ported with a known issue. I remember the Sigma(PSD3)version of NG2 had to get over the awful camera in the original 360 game and Tecmo/TN really made a big deal of it.The fact some people(I didn't find any issue with it)think the camera in inFAMOUS2 shows what a pain camera positioning STILL is for developers even today.

I ,also, am amazed at something so seemingly simple giving them a pain in this day and age but there you go-it's why they make the games and we don't. It is a shame for BG&E, though, as it's a real pain in a few of the game p[lay types i the game and when making the HD version they REALLY ought to have at least tried even if it would have meant a little messing about-the game's near perfect in most other ways and surely deserves the extra attention-they could have publicised it's release on PSN/Live as well and then,maybe, it would have got away from it's position alongside Psychonauts and Okami as one of the games people lie about having played.

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Beamboom
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 4:29:41 AM
Reply

I enjoyed this mildly back in the days on the PC, but I tried the trial again yesterday and boy should I have left the memories alone. The stupid, talking pig just screams "childrens television" to me.
This is *not* why I am still a gamer at 42.


Last edited by Beamboom on 7/2/2011 4:41:10 AM

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iGraves1
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 4:48:56 AM
Reply

After hearing so much about this game I decided to buy it since it's in HD and only $10. Gotta say I'm really liking so far, well worth the money IMO.

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Vivi_Gamer
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 5:20:42 AM
Reply

I still need to play this, I even have the PS2 version in my collection, I justr havent got around to it.

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YesterdysRising
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 5:38:16 AM
Reply

I just wish I could have the vertical inverted without the horizontal being inverted but it's not possible :( I might buy it if they update that part of it.

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mastiffchild
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 7:28:08 PM

Jeez, don't let that stop you-BG&E is one of last gens most ambitious games and merits you play it and not being able to invert just the Y axis isn't anything like a good enough reason to miss out-you're only hurting yourself dude, seriously, don't sweat the small stuff with this one as it deserves you play it.

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mehrab2603
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 8:43:43 AM
Reply

Oh how much I loved this game. I would have got it Day 1 had this been released in disc format.

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Fabi
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 11:33:01 AM
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I remember being in GameStop like 3-4 years ago and looking to buy a cheap PS2 game. My friend and I saw the box for this game and thought it looked way too good, to be any good.

See the logic we were using was that since neither of us had heard of the game, there was no way it could be any good. And thought that the screenshots were probably not even how the game really looked.

Years later I find out that's it's one of those low-profile gems. I think I owe it to the game to buy it now.

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Oyashiro
Saturday, July 02, 2011 @ 3:37:06 PM
Reply

Yup, good games are will always be good games.

Sad that Ubi said that a BG&E2 won't be happening this gen.

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